Wandering Through Steepest Terrains
May 30, 2015
You are a wanderer in your mindscape.
While you feel, deep down, that you exist ‘somewhere’; that place is more virtual than real. The brain projects an energy plain, using software of the mind, that we experience as ‘I’.
Your brain creates this experience of SELF AWARENESS, by generating a computed landscape of thoughts.
In this magical electromagnetic field, you can exist in infinite locations, corresponding to any experience imaginable.
And the experience of time, changes blank blueprints, into a topography of peaks and valleys.
The troughs, and gentle declines, represent patterns of ideas, concepts, and feelings that flow almost too easily; as the hobo of the mind strolls, to the next facile adventure.
The laborious uphills and inclines, in this virtual playground, represent ideas or feelings you find challenging, like exercise, or sticking to a diet.
And the higher the angles to the point, the more effort our avatar requires to climb the steep steps.
Our self excuses, are the verbal maps, to lower states of what matters.
Yet when we persevere and pluck epiphanies out of the sky, our brain literally grows too, giving the mind more abilities.
Over the years, as our inner world takes shape, the Pangaea of the brain slowly divides.
Separations, in the neural nationalities of thought occurs, becoming electrical projections of distinct continents of mind, drifting apart with unique terrains.
From uterus, to the awareness that you exist, you have been actively shaping your future and destiny, by the ideas carried in your brain-pack, at each picnic along the way.
Walking reality’s roads actually builds the path itself, as both what the body does, and the mind imagines, become physically real to the brain.
There are the soothing soft grasses, and gentle brooks whispering love’s name; the wanderer knows the Siren calls of this continent well.
And there are the color-by-number continents of math and non-fiction, with countries mandated by fact.
Nearby, there are islands of unstable emotional land masses, fictional highs and lows, swamps and cliffs. These dangerous areas wait on the horizon; volcanoes filled with hot emotions.
Yet, it is often important to risk the danger and reach the pinnacle, for, in those eruptions of truths lie new springs of wisdom.
Inside our eclectic electric world, many K2’s exist, such as; ‘is it okay to abort a fetus’, or ‘is it okay to support Euthanasia?’
On our bravest, and most courageous days, we tackle these challenging mounds, using footholds of facts, to scale complex ideals. It is important to seek answers to many questions, as we try to reach for the top.
While the ideas and values we develop are important guides, in this immense playground of the mind, the true Sherpas are time, ushering us along, one hand a second.
The unconscious universe may be timeless, but the Newtonian explorer marches compliantly, in one direction.
Our conscious story proceeds, as a unidirectional slideshow; it is the entire vacation of your existence.
Behind this wanderer is YOUR past, a brilliant topography of your memories and past experiences. Right in front of you are the limitless numbers of roads yet to be trod by each footstep of choice. Right beside you are the always changing landscapes, ideas and values sewn in memes, carried with you.
The ones you carry in your heart, spread out like welcoming gardens and meadows.
These are your favorite paths, of least resistance.
Other, more difficult concepts or controversies, erect nearby dark jungles, and treacherous peaks.
Many times there are safe ways through or above, just outside the view of the mind’s eye. When we ignore the facts, charting the best course through, these mysterious places slow down the wanderer.
Life’s weighted poker chips, on both shoulders.
I always think of where my thoughts are, at any given time in my mind, similarly to an EKG blip, like the kind you see in an Emergency Room. The little dot, forever sprinting in one direction, running up and down hills and mountains, and sprinting on the flats.
In the mind, this dot is you, playing a Side-Scroller game, of here and now, mixed with before, and what is about to come.
But the blip, on the 2 dimensional ER screen, moves freely in the 3-D generated space called consciousness; light cycles on TRON’s grid.
The foundation of our thoughts is this dazzling honeycomb, essentially flat at birth. With every new experience, an impression is made, a pattern in your growing understanding of reality.
Throughout our life, this blank slate becomes a panoramic fractal of textures, like an expanding kaleidoscope nest, in a make-believe Planetarium of the skull.
While ideas themselves are lighter than a feather, they bear the heaviness that we give them.
Friction can develop in the mind’s space; ideas can take on more gravity.
Some undulations, in the arcing path, make it easier for the wanderer inside to stroll along.
There are other times, where obtuse plates shift, and the beginnings of future impasses slowly take shape.
These specific paradigms are like Mount Everest, taunting our ill-equipped inner adventurers, the sheer mass and weight almost impossible to scale.
However, it is only once you clamor to the very top, that you are finally able to see the mystery, on both sides of the backbone.
An interesting thing often happens, near the peak of understanding. Viewing both perspectives allows the for the wonder of integration; swallowing the large and difficult, into the small and conquerable.
With information, empathy, and the knowledge that we are the wanderer, we can all make mole hills out of mountains.
On this particular landmark, there are really only 2 faces of importance.
I hesitate to name this peak, but ‘Mount Rushmore To Judgment’ leaps to mind.
All tragedies in life are a challenging mountain in our minds, for us to overcome; as opposed to fearfully, or even angrily, trying to push on one side.
One can appear to be trying, and not resting on laurels. The thresholds through are not so hidden, and it is possible to find enlightenment, at the end of time’s funnel.
The challenge of being great every day, is our ability to try our best to navigate these terrains.
Hopefully by grasping firm facts.
Please mind the slippery slopes that exist; avoid dangling too close to these edges, or else risk sliding into a crevasse of opinion that has little escape.
If you fall into these concaves, cut off from the diverse people in our group, you may feel excitement and false mastery.
But instead, you have become a Lord of the Flies, and a Lout to your Files, at the same time.
In dark places such as those, lost in your own wilderness, animal instincts may prevail; demanding forever blind eyes, for ones that still may see.
But there really is more to this, than what meets you and I.
And which side you take, should not have a lot to do with whether you personally identify with McLean or Li.
We must dig deeper to achieve higher understandings, now that we have more facts.
We will always mourn Tim’s passing, and remember that part of his legacy is a deeper understanding of what it means to be psychotic.
An extension of that is the importance of understanding; why Li being psychotic at the time of the killing, is an extremely significant factor in how society should treat him.
Our love for Tim is, at a deeper level, a love of all humanity, particularly those who are victims.
The NCR designation does not declare Li innocent, but at the same time, he is also not guilty of having Schizophrenia.
It does allow for his freedom to be taken away, in gradations, to ensure his ongoing treatment.
I will always allow anyone, who loves Tim, the courtesy of accepting that they have every right to be angry at Li, and fear people who have Schizophrenia.
When you love someone that much and they are gone, that is how trauma works.
But trauma is also the birthplace of passion, and gives us reason to fight for bigger causes than ourselves.
It is important to mention that untreated, or unresolved trauma, eats away at us on the inside, stealing our emotions, sleep, and identity. It does so, in ways eerily similar, to the symptoms of Schizophrenia itself.
I guarantee that neither Tim nor Li would wish that, upon anyone.
Should a person be found guilty, of not treating an illness like psychosis, before it reaches a critical point?
At what stage does one become insane enough to kill someone else?
At what point do we find someone guilty of ‘murder’, if it is perfectly clear at the time, that they had no ability to appreciate right from wrong?
Are there other examples where death occurred due to the actions of someone who was unable to appreciate right from wrong?
What are the differences?
What is the best way to prevent future similar victims?
Our love for humanity should also extend to those who are victims of devastating illnesses, such as Schizophrenia.
In the next part we will explore the 2 faces of this tragedy in more detail. We will look at how the NCR designation is applied, and outcomes in previous cases. We will discuss when exactly someone is psychotic enough for NCR to be applicable. We will examine where Li could be blamed, using a patchwork of gossip and allegations from the news and social media, to generate discussion, and hopefully answer some of the more important questions.
So tune in for Part 7.
Simon Trepel, MD
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. He was not referring to coffee that tastes like an Italian person.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at